纽约时报 | 美国NASA阿波罗任务控制中心的修复计划

Is this the space race's most important room? 美国NASA阿波罗 […]

Is this the space race's most important room?
美国NASA阿波罗任务控制中心的修复计划

There is nothing special about the entrance door to Mission Operations Control Room 2 (Mocr-2), on the third floor of Nasa’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

美国国家航天局在休斯顿的约翰逊太空中心(Nasa's Johnson Space Center),其三楼的2号任务控制室(Mocr-2)大门看起来没有什么特别之处。

Only the slightly battered sign screwed to the government-issue grey paint gives you a clue to its historical significance.

只有固定在政府核准发行的灰色涂料上一块已略微残破的牌子,才能让你察觉到这个房间的历史重要性。

The sign lists 42 missions, covering more than a quarter of a century. They range from Gemini 4 in 1965 C with America’s first spacewalk C through the Apollo missions to the Moon, to the early Space Shuttle flights.

这个牌子列出跨度超过四分之一个世纪的42项航天任务,从1965年执行了美国航天史上第一次太空行走的双子星座4号(Gemini 4)载人飞行,到阿波罗(Apollo)登月计划,及早期的航天飞机飞行。

Some of the most dramatic moments in modern human history, including the first Moon landing, the rescue of Apollo 13, and the Challenger disaster, have been overseen from this room.

人类现代历史上最引人注目的一些历史时刻,包括首次登月、阿波罗13号的救援、挑战者号灾难,都是在这个房间进行监测控制的。

“The place had a feel to it, kind of like putting on a well-fitting glove,” says Gerry Griffin, a flight director on the Apollo missions. “When I go back into it now, it’s a little more like a cathedral C a place of almost reverence.”

阿波罗任务飞行主任格里芬(Gerry Griffin)说,“当年这个地方给人工作场所熟悉的感觉,有点像戴上一副尺寸刚好的手套。但我现在再回到这里,感觉更像是一座辉煌的大教堂,是一个令人敬畏的地方。”

Go through the door and it’s clear that this cathedral has seen better days. Although Mocr-2 has been preserved as a National Historic Landmark, since it was last used for operations in the early 1990s the room’s condition has deteriorated. So much so, that it was recently designated as “threatened.” The iconic control consoles were getting damaged and the room was becoming faded and shabby.

穿过门,很明显看到这座航天历史中的大教堂曾经有过的辉煌日子 。尽管2号任务控制室已经被保留为国家历史遗产,但由于它最后一次执行任务是在20世纪90年代初,现在房间已经破败,以至于最近这个历史遗产被指认为处于“濒危”状态。标志性的控制台已经破损,室内墙身褪色变黄,并显得破旧。

Now, ahead of the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing in July, Nasa is working to restore Apollo mission control to its former glory. At this stage of the conservation project, however, Mocr-2 is looking worse than ever.

现在,在7月份的首次登月50周年纪念之前,美国国家航天局正致力于将阿波罗任务控制中心恢复到昔日的辉煌。只不过,该项保护计划在现阶段让2号任务控制室看起来比以往任何时候都更糟糕。

The screens are blank, ceiling tiles are missing, the walls are stripped bare, and the carpet is stained and tattered. Numbered Post-it stickers cover surfaces where items have been removed. The chairs and some of the iconic consoles have been taken away for restoration, while others are covered in protective plastic sheeting.

屏幕空白、天花板缺失、墙壁裸露、地毯脏且破烂。室内被移除的设施贴上有编号的贴纸。椅子和一些标志性的控制台已经拿去修复,其他的则覆盖在保护性塑料布下面。

Nevertheless, there’s still something very special about this room. “Even now when it’s all stripped down and there’s nothing, not even a flag, you know it’s different,” says Nasa historic preservation officer Sandra Tetley. “You can tell history was made here, you just feel it.”

尽管如此,这个房间仍有其不同凡响之处。航天局历史遗物保存官泰特利(Sandra Tetley)说,“即使现在,房间被拆卸一空,连一面旗帜也没剩下,你也知道它是不同的。你能感觉到这里曾经创造了历史。”

Tetley is overseeing the restoration project that, with only six months to go, still has a very long to-do list. Restoration, rather than refurbishment C “I hate the word,” says Tetley C is the name of the game.

泰特利负责监督修复项目,只剩不足六个月的时间,要完成的任务还很多。这个工程被称为修复而不是“翻新”。泰特利说,“我不喜欢翻新这个词。”

“The idea is that when you step into the viewing room at the back, you’ll be stepping back in time and it’ll look like the flight controllers have just stepped away from their consoles,” she explains. “They’ll be lights blinking, clocks working, projections on the screens, they’ll be things placed on the consoles C manuals, coffee and cigarette butts in the ashtrays.”

她解释道,“修复的目的是要达到这样的效果,当你走进后面的观景廊,你就像回到了过去,控制室看起来就好像控制航天飞行的人员刚刚离开他们的控制台。会有闪烁的灯光、正在运转的钟表、有投影的屏幕,控制台上有手册、咖啡和放在烟灰缸里的烟头。”

In the high stakes, high stress environment of 1960s mission control, coffee and cigarettes played a major role. “Everybody smoked, everybody drank coffee,” says Griffin. “You could see the smoke in the room C and the smell had to be just horrendous, with smoke and a bunch of bodies, but we didn’t notice because we’d been in it all day.”

在1960年代航天任务的控制工作,风险高压力大,在这样的环境中上班,咖啡和香烟扮演了重要的角色。格里芬说,“每个人都抽烟,每个人都喝咖啡。你能看到房间有烟。有烟和一堆人,气味也一定很难闻,但我们没有注意到,因为一整天都在里面。”

Preserving some of that atmosphere is one of the goals of the restoration. “The original ceiling was white but over the years with cigarette tar it’s yellowed,” says Tetley. “We’re leaving all that grime so you can still see that yellowish colour.”

修复的目标之一是保存一些这样的工作氛围。泰特利说,“原本的天花板是白色的,但在多年的香烟焦油熏染下已经泛黄。我们会保留所有这些污垢,所以你仍然会看到那种泛黄的颜色。”

The walls too will be restored with their original pattern. “In the plans we weren’t going to have wallpaper but then we found a fragment of original paper behind a fire extinguisher,” she says. “We were able to go back to the manufacturer and they found the actual roller that made the wallpaper, so we’ve been able to recreate it.”

墙壁也将复原回原始的墙纸图案。她说,“按计划我们不会用墙纸,但后来在一个灭火器的后面发现了一块原始的墙纸。我们能够找到制造商,他们又找到了原来制作墙纸的滚筒,所以我们能够重造墙纸。”

It’s a similar story with the carpet, with fragments of the original recovered from beneath the consoles. Another re-discovery when they removed the consoles was a system of pneumatic tubes. Mission controllers used these to send canisters containing messages to and from their support teams dotted around the Houston complex.

地毯的故事也差不多,是从控制台的下面找到了一些原始的地毯。移开控制台时的另外一处发现是气动管道系统。当年航天任务控制人员用这些管道向遍布休斯顿综合大楼的支援团队发送和接受装有信息的罐子。

“They would send notes back and forth, and flight controllers said that one of the really interesting things in this room was to hear that noise C it was shuum, shuum with these pneumatic tubes going,” says Tetley. “They no longer work but controllers say that some of the things they put through these tubes included hot dogs and mice!”

泰特利说,“他们会来回发送信息。航天飞行控制人员说在控制室里有趣的事情之一就是听气动管道工作时的‘嗖嗖’声。管道已经不再使用,但控制人员说他们放进管道的东西还包括热狗和老鼠。”

Considering the high drama that unfolded in this room, it’s perhaps appropriate that the design of Mocr-2 is almost like a theatre, with a viewing gallery at the rear and then a rack of consoles overlooking floor to ceiling screens. The video and data displayed here was back-projected from a concealed and windowless room behind the screen known as the “Bat Cave”.

考虑到这个房间呈现的高度戏剧性的场面,将2号任务控制室设计得犹如剧院也许是合适的,其后面将加一个观景廊和一排控制台,俯瞰从地板到天花板的屏幕。屏幕上播放的视频和数据是从幕后一个被称为“蝙蝠洞”(Bat Cave)的隐蔽且无窗的地方投设出来的。

As part of the restoration, and complete overhaul with modern electronics, these screens, and the clocks above them, will once again come to life. And another room, to the right of the screens is also being rebuilt. This was the Simulation Control Room, where a training team could simulate problems that might occur during missions.

作为修复工作的一部分,通过现代电子设备的全面检修,这些屏幕和上面的钟表会再度恢复工作。屏幕右方的一个房间也在重建。这曾是模拟控制室,训练组可以在这里模拟执行控制任务时可能出现的问题。

“The simulation people gave us errors to see how we’d handle them,” says Griffin. “They’d give us an error and we’d handle it, then another, then another, so eventually they’d bring us to our knees and we would get kind of frustrated.”

格里芬说,“模拟人员给我们一些错误,看我们如何处理。他们给我们一个错误,我们得去处理,接着一个又一个,最后要搞得我们屈服认输,这搞得我们相当沮丧。”

“There was a door in the very back corner [of the simulation room] and we’re putting that door back,” adds Tetley. “They called it the simulation supervisor escape door C because emotions used to get so raised between the flight controllers and simulators, that he could dart out of the back door and escape.”

泰特利补充说,“在(模拟室)最后面角落里有一扇门,我们会把它装回去。他们把它叫做模拟监督员逃生门,因为航天飞行控制员和模拟人员之间情绪对抗会升高到剑拔弩张的程度,模拟监督员从而可以从后门飞奔逃走。”

Even in the recent past, visitors to the floor of mission control have been able to sit in the seats and play at being flight director (I confess that in a previous visit a few years ago, I have done this). Following restoration, all the consoles will be off-limits with strict restrictions on access to help preserve room Mocr-2 for all humankind well into the future. Instead, visitors will see the room through the glass of the VIP viewing gallery at the back, as if they were watching a real mission unfolding.

就在不久以前,访客来到航天任务控制楼层,还能够坐在椅子上扮演航天飞行控制员(我坦白,几年前的一次访问中,我也这么做过)。修复后,将严格限制所有控制台被人接触,以便为未来的人类保留2号任务控制室。相应的,游客将通过后面VIP观景廊的玻璃看到控制室,就好像观看一个正在执行航天飞行控制的真实任务。

Once complete, and as part of the celebrations of the first Moon landing, the final people who will get to sit at the consoles will be the original mission controllers. Photos will be taken of them sitting at their work stations to create a lasting record of their contribution to human spaceflight.

完成以后,作为首次登月庆祝活动的一部分,最后坐在控制台上的将是原来的航天任务控制人员。他们坐在工作台上的画面将被拍照,以永远纪念他们对人类太空飞行的贡献。

Tetley says it’s always a joy to see them back in the room where they made history.

泰特利说,看到他们回到他们曾经创造历史的房间,令人喜悦不已。

“They’re like kids in a candy store,” says Tetley. “They’re just smiling, remembering what they did here C it’s very moving for me to see them and their appreciation for what we’re doing.”

泰特利说, “他们就像是糖果店里的孩子看到糖果一样。他们会微笑着回忆在这个房间所做的一切。看到他们及他们对我们所做的修复工作的认可,我会非常的感动。”

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